There’s nothing quite as sexy as a set of perfectly manicured nails; well, perhaps that’s a stretch, but you get the drift. When you think nails, you think solid colors, sometimes nail art, and of course, French manicures get a resounding yes—it’s an inextricable part of a woman’s beauty regime. But, there’s that teeny-tiny problem of having to reapply your nail polish every two days, because of course, chipped paint is a complete eyesore. A solution to that problem appeared in the form of gel manicures. While this was a welcome change, when something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Cancer Scare
Gel manicures brought with them, a curing process that needed the help of UV light to help the gel set, or dry. Now, the thought of exposing one’s hands to UV light for extended periods of time (we hear it takes 10 minutes to dry) was a serious cause for concern among dermatologists, since it runs the risk of accelerating aging, or worse, leading to skin cancer.

However, according to a new study published in JAMA Dermatology, researchers who evaluated 17 different light sources (curing devices) from 16 salons, in two undisclosed geographic locations, have found that “UV nail polish drying lamps pose only a small risk to clients.” But, this study needs be taken with a pinch of salt, considering it looked at the use of only UV lights, which have become less common as some salons have switched to quicker, presumably less-risky LED lights.


Allergic Reaction
And just as we were about to sigh with relief, another devil came knocking. According to dermatologist Dr Susan Taylor, some gel polishes contain the chemical butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), which is considered carcinogenic, while chemicals like, methyl acrylate, more commonly found in gel polish, can cause shortness of breath and allergic contact dermatitis.

Whether the side-effects will manifest in your case, depends on the sensitivity of your skin specifically. Also, considering the procedure to remove the polish involves soaking your hands in acetone for 10-15 minutes (and then scraping off the residue), your nails tend to become thin, brittle and very dry.

With everything in mind, it is for you to decide if gel manicures are worth the trouble and money. Or else, opting for quality, long-wear nail paints seems like the obvious solution.

PS: For solutions to suit your specific skin type, head to our Skincare Section.
Also, here’s the latest on what’s trending in the world of Beauty.

Read More:
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Nail The Look With These Manicure & Pedicure Tips
Code Yellow: Why Your Nails Are Losing Their Color (& A Few Quick-Fixes)

Charlene Flanagan is a lifestyle journalist whose love for language drove her to earn her Bachelor’s degree in English literature, as well as pursue her Masters in Arts. Over the last five years, she’s contributed to a number of leading publications, and has particularly enjoyed reviewing books and restaurants, as well as interviewing celebrities. Her recent switch to a holistic lifestyle has her looking at her food choices very differently—although she won’t admit it. When she’s not busy writing up about workouts, home remedies, and skincare essentials, she spends her time being the quintessential city girl who’s excited to see what life has in store for her.